Dating websites like and e Harmony charge as little as about a month, depending on the type of subscription.It's Just Lunch charges ,300 for a yearlong membership.

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Ask people such as Fader and Hampton, and they will tell you that matchmaking is highly effective.

They doubt they would have found each other without Owens.

People who use matchmaking services need to be diligent, too, she said."Know what you're getting and know what you can afford," Clampitt said.

"Don't be sold into a situation that doesn't work for you."But does it work?

Its worth has doubled since 2006, and The Matchmaking Institute estimates that there are now more than 2,000 professional matchmakers in the U. STORY: Travel can improve couples' sex life, survey says STORY: Love never gets old for these couples Personal matchmakers certainly aren't the only way to find a mate.

Dating websites remain popular, and there are national matchmaking services such as It's Just Lunch.

But several factors could be contributing to personal matchmakers' popularity, said Lisa Clampitt, who co-founded The Matchmaking Institute. Newly divorced people might feel like they need coaching after being out of the dating scene for several years.

And some people tire of the bar scene and online dating and want more personal help, she said.

An ancient practice Clampitt of the Matchmaking Institute has made a career of trying to establish the industry as an ethical and credible one.

It can be a tall task, considering the industry's origins can be traced back to a time when a bride was given to a groom with the added bonus of livestock and a matchmaker took a share of that bonus as payment.

The first clue that dating services aren't always effective: They don't offer any guarantee, and they won't refund people's money if they don't find their soul mate, said Bernardo Carducci, psychology professor and director of the Shyness Research Institute at Indiana University-Southeast.